Talking About Mental Health for October
If you or someone you know is considering suicide, call 9-1-1, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or text “MHFA” to 741-741 for 24/7 confidential counseling from the Crisis Text Line.
Talking about mental health can be hard. It can be hard to admit that you’re not feeling okay, and even harder to ask for help. This is especially true when you’re a young person facing the pressure to look, act and be a certain way.
But, it’s important to know that asking for help is okay. You don’t need to tell everyone, but there are some things that you shouldn’t keep a secret. If you or someone you know is struggling with a mental health or substance use challenge, connect with a responsible and trusted adult. Use these tips from teen Mental Health First Aid to find an adult you trust and reach out for help.
1. Consider which adults are going to be able to help.
Think about which adults are likely to understand what’s going on, be able to give helpful suggestions and support you or your friend get better. This might be a family member, teacher, coach, doctor or school counselor. You can also access professional help online or over the phone and this might be a good place to start if you or your friend want to remain anonymous.
2. Find an adult who is responsible and someone you trust.
Try to think of people who you or your friend would feel comfortable with and will support you in return. It can take some time to find the “right fit” when it comes to talking about mental health challenges, so don’t be afraid to find someone new.
3. Prepare some information before you talk to them.
It can help to write down your thoughts and feelings or take factsheets and other information with you. This way if you get nervous in the moment, you have something to reference.
4. Take a friend with you.
It can be hard to ask for help alone. Take a friend that you trust with you for support and encouragement.
5. Don’t wait, especially if you or your friend is in a mental health crisis.
Your life and health are more important than confidentiality. If your friend is not ready to ask for help but you worry for their safety, reach out to an adult on your own. If you can’t find a teacher, parent, coach or other adult, call 911.
These tips are just a place to start. You can also be trained in Mental Health First Aid and learn about other ways to talk about your mental health and get the support you need. teen Mental Health First Aid (tMHFA) teaches high school students about common mental health challenges and empowers them with an action plan to support each other in times of need.
Learn more about this exciting new program, run by the National Council and supported by Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Foundation. Right now, select schools across the country are training students in tMHFA. We’re looking forward to expanding to more schools across the country in the coming years.
By Rubina Kapil on September 24, 2019